The 7 Deadly Wastes is one of the founding principles of Lean.
In this series of blog posts, we are going to take a look at each of the original 7 Wastes and show examples of how you can eliminate waste in your organization. You can find our entire video series on the Lean Wastes here.
The Waste of Motion is the easiest to illustrate but is often overlooked when it comes to improvement efforts. We illustrate this common complaint in our series, Everybody Get Lean.
“Just imagine what you can do with forty-five seconds.”
Greg comments, but in truth, the answer is plenty! At first glance, counting the number of steps it takes to carry tools from a shelf or limiting the number of folds it takes to stuff a letter seems insignificant. But small improvements to common tasks, measured over weeks and months, can count up to hours and hours of saved time and energy.
Consider the simple task of refilling a printer with paper. The necessary paper may be located in a supply closet. Every time the printer needs refilling, someone has to spend five minutes walking down the hall, grabbing the paper and putting it in the machine. By relocating the paper to a shelf next to the printer, you can eliminate the waste of unnecessary motion, saving four minutes.
But what good is four minutes?
If you refill your printer twice a week, that adds up to 416 minutes a year or almost seven hours of total labor. Imagine what you could do with an extra workday every year. Suddenly, these small changes seem quite significant.
Take a look at your tools, whether they are paintbrushes, screwdrivers or staplers. Are they within arms reach? How much time do you spend looking for the right tool? Check out our material on shadowboarding and 5S to cut down on this sort of waste. Examine how often you walk from one area of the workplace to another. Are you getting materials that could be effectively relocated? Are you seeking input from co-workers? Would it make sense for them to be closer to your work environment?
Once you open your eyes to Waste, you can begin seeing hundreds of small ways you can improve your work process.